Growing up, I always struggled with making acquaintances, let alone friends. I would get nervous and start panicking at the thought of looking like a fool or doing something embarrassing. Through some hard work of getting more used to talking to people at school and work (exposure therapy anyone?), I eventually got over the fear but the lingering effects are still there. In short, I don’t really have any friends besides two or three people I still speak to from my undergrad days that ended almost two years ago. Due to the recent end of the pandemic restrictions, I decided that this was going to change. I was tired of always feeling alone and having no lasting social friendships.
This was only solidified by my previous experience in Intensive Outpatient Therapy this year at one of my lowest lows of the past few years. I realized that sometimes I needed more support than my significant other could provide at times and that friends might be helpful. Therefore, I took some action steps. First, I joined meetup.com via an app on my smartphone and signed up for some events. I then did the same thing on some relevant Facebook groups about topics that interested me. And then I waited. And waited some more.
Initially, the first few of these events that I went to did not work out as planned. Some of the events were located too far away, or I happened to feel after attending that I would not go to something similar again. However, I ended up finding a few diamonds in the rough; I attended some meetups and felt included and connected for once.
Do you struggle with making friends? If so, what has worked for you?